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The Virgin and Child in a Garden
Style of Martin Schongauer
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In this small painting, the Virgin Mary and infant Christ are seated in an enclosed garden (known in Latin as a hortus conclusus, it traditionally symbolised Mary’s virginity). She holds out a flower to her son – a ‘pink’, also known as a dianthus (meaning ‘flower of God’ in Latin). It was often included in images of the Virgin and Child as a reference to the Crucifixion, specifically the nails that fastened Christ to the Cross: its scent resembles that of cloves, which look like little nails.

It is possible this painting was made by members of Schongauer’s workshop.

Key facts
Artist Style of Martin Schongauer
Artist dates active 1469; died 1491
Full title The Virgin and Child in a Garden
Date made 1469-91
Medium and support Oil on lime
Dimensions 30.2 x 21.9 cm
Acquisition credit Presented by Queen Victoria at the Prince Consort's wish, 1863
Inventory number NG723
Location in Gallery Room 65
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